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4/12/2018 “Ready, Set, Go!”: County urged to prepare for fire season
The county remains under a Stage II Fire Restriction during current drought-like conditions, and a huge swath of the state, including our area, is in a red flag warning today. It is advisable therefore, to be familiar not only with banned fire activities but with prescribed proactive human activities. Available on the county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) webpage, the “Ready, Set, Go!” program shares information with residents on what they can do to successfully prepare for a wildland fire. Details, including specific counsel for residents and property owners can be found at custercountygov.com/oem. The program walks people through steps in personal responsibility for preparation of land, persons, and structures before a wildfire incident. It also advises having emergency kits at hand, staying informed through various county resources, and adhering to evacuation recommendations. Len Lankford, owner of Greenleaf Forestry and Wood Products on Rosita Road, says some residents might tend to focus on the evacuation aspect and “not be engaged in every aspect” of the preparation dynamic. He says collaboration with neighbors and agencies is essential, as is staying informed about wildfire dangers. One such collaboration are the Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP). The OEM website provides information about the soon to be adopted Sangres Foothills CWPP, with additional information about CWPP in The Woods at Buck Mountain and Cuerno Verde. Lankford acknowledges that “the problem is big and complex.” The “problem” is the “extreme, even monumental” fire hazard in the county’s mountainous areas. The development of neighborhood CWPPs is a proactive step in the need for community action, he notes. Lankford adds that creating defensible spaces around homes, as well as cleaning up brush, grasses and woodpiles and thinning and opening up of trees in the neighborhood between structures is part of a responsible community effort in averting damage during any wildfire event. “A good question in all forested neighborhoods is ‘Have we cleaned up?’” he states; “What does the first 30 feet out from the home look like, the next 150 feet, before the forest that brings the fire to you? This is a community effort, and its success depends on a cooperative approach.” Some of the areas that have grappled with fire threat by clearing, spacing, and placing distance between tree crowns include north and south of Alvarado campground, as well as in the Rosita area and in Spread Eagle Springs subdivision. Lankford’s user friendly website, www.greenleafforestry.com is rich with helpful material that complements OEM’s information. The contact number for OEM is 783-2410, and Lankford can be reached at 783-4250. – W.A. Ewing